If you hold a position of power, someone may offer you incentive to perform a favor for them using your role. You may consider such an action little more than helping a friend or associate. While this may seem benign, such behavior constitutes bribery. This practice often happens with government employees. But it can occur in other settings, too.
Minnesota’s bribery laws
Minnesota law recognizes three different types of bribery. Bribery in general applies to government or public officials who accepted an item of value to perform a favor for a third party. This may take the form of appointing them to a seat or signing legislation favorable to their interests. The state also acknowledges commercial bribery. This happens in business negotiations when an agent gains advantage over their competitors by offering incentive. And Minnesota recognizes the bribery of a participant or official of a contest as well. This form applies to individuals working in sports or entertainment. And it often refers to the fixing of outcomes or scores in exchange for money.
Penalties for bribery
The penalties for bribery are stiff in Minnesota. No matter which form you’re accused of, you will receive felony charges. If convicted of bribery in general, you could spend up to 10 years in prison and pay a fine up to $20,000. You will also forfeit any public office you hold. The consequences for commercial bribery and bribery of a participant or official are less severe. Yet, in either case, you could spend up to five years in prison and pay a fine of up to $10,000. The exception to this rule is if you allegedly took or received a commercial bribe of less than $500 in value. You will receive misdemeanor charges instead of felony charges. And you will spend no more than 90 days in prison. Your fine, in this case, will not exceed $1,000.
Before performing a favor for a friend or associate, consider that it may be bribery. If you’re facing accusations, an attorney with criminal defense experience can help you work through your options.